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The Experience versus the Expectations of Power: A Recipe for Altering the Effects of Power on Behavior

Derek D. Rucker, Miao Hu and Adam D. Galinsky

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 2, 381 - 396

Abstract: Power transforms consumer behavior. This research introduces a critical theoretical moderator of power's effects by promoting the idea that power is accompanied by both an experience (how it feels to have or lack power) and expectations (schemas and scripts as to how those with or without power behave). In some cases, the psychological experience of power predisposes people to behave one way, whereas attention to the expectations of power suggests behaving in another way. As a consequence, power's effects for consumer behavior can hinge on consumers' focus. Specifically, a focus on the experience or expectations of power critically moderates how power affects both information processing and status seeking. However, as the experience of power incites a desire to act, and the powerful are expected to act, power produces more action regardless of focus. These findings provide a new lens on power and have important implications for consumer behavior.

Date: 2014
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